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Cohen retiring from Brookings chamber

Les Cohen
Les Cohen
After 20 years as president and CEO of the Brookings-Harbor Chamber of Commerce, Les Cohen this week announced he will retire on June 28.

“It’s been a fantastic 20 years, but it’s time to move on, and it’s time for the chamber to move ahead with new leadership,” Cohen said Friday.

Cohen, who began working at the chamber in 1992, is staying in the area and will continue to participate in the Brookings Area Council for the Arts, the American Music Festival and other community-based organizations.

Cohen said he chose to retire on June 28 as it is the end of the chamber’s current cycle of fundraising and event coordination, allowing for a smoother transition for his successor.

The chamber has a succession plan in place, according to chamber board chairman Jack Cook.

The plan calls for the chamber to post the position with chamber associations such as the Oregon State Chamber of Commerce and the Western Association of Chamber Executives, in order to ensure that potential candidates have the “knowledge, experience and awareness of chamber management procedures and guidelines.”

The chamber, Cook said, is looking for someone who has the “ability to maintain the level of professionalism that the chamber is known for throughout the region and state.”

Cohen, who used to be a health care administrator before joining the chamber, said he “embraced the field of chamber management and I’ve had the good fortune to have been able to see this organization grow and be acknowledged as a leader in the field, both regionally and statewide.”

He added, “I have been honored to serve with extremely talented board of directors, local business people and visitor information center volunteers over the years.”

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